Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Christian Ferras Plays Sibelius Stravinsky Franck |
EMI Classic Archive
Actors: Christian Ferras, Zino Francescatti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Fantastic DVD of an inexplicably lesser known violinist
Nabih B. Bulos | Baltimore, MD USA | 04/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike most of the other violinists featured in the excellent "classical archive" EMI series, Christian Ferras DOES require an introduction. Less known than other violinistic superstars such as Oistrakh, Kogan, Szeryng, and even Grumiaux (and Ferras was very much the equal of these great musicians), Christian Ferras was a prodigy on the violin. His recordings of all the major works with conductors such as Karajan and others gained the respect and admiration of musicians the world over. Strangely enough, he took his own life just as the second dawn of his career was to start, which is perhaps one reason for his Lilliputian reputation when compared to the aforementioned greats.
Still, these video recordings of his playing show Ferras at his interpretive and artistic peak, where he takes a number of "unconventional" risks in the Sibelius Concerto, while his Franck Sonata and Faure Berceuse (originally written as a sight-reading exercise for conservatory examinations) demonstrate his Gallic sensibilities to the extreme. It is a shame that such "schmaltzy" playing might be derided in this day and age of cerebral performances, for even his Bach (which is quite reserved, actually) is excellent, showing Ferras' versatility as a player.
The somewhat perplexing inclusion of Zino Francescatti as a bonus on this DVD is nonetheless joyously received, for his -thankfully complete- Mozart K218 is wonderful to behold. Whenever one hears or sees Francescatti play, a hint of smile has to appear on one's lips, and this recording certainly does not disappoint.
The one annoying thing about this DVD (and one is nitpicking here) is the occasionally awful camera angles and "techniques" the photographers choose to employ. Done with a keen eye for the cheesy as opposed to the useful, we are oftentimes treated to an extremely close (and unflattering) view of Ferras' face as he plays the Sibelius, or his chest (thus showing the bow sans violin). The ultimte cheesy camera moment happens somewhere in the Sibelius, when in the middle of a particularly dramatic moment, the camera zooms out suddenly, causing any one with an inkling of taste to groan inwardly.
Still, this is all not so important in a truly wonderful collection of gems of the classical archive, with excellent sound and picture quality. Well worth the money."
Flawed but fabulous
R Young | UK | 04/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christian Ferras is at first sight a relic of the old school of romantic playing.....over-quick vibrato...too many slides. Yet for all that the Sibelius on this DVD has something magical that transcends the cheesy moments. This performance really does have some extraordinarily beautiful playing....up there with, if not beyond, the most moving performances you will hear of the Sibelius concerto.
Ferras's early career was every bit as stella as more conventionally regarded legends of the violin. His suicide at the age of 49 cut short a musical life that was clearly chequered but included performances and recordings with the major orchestras of the world.
There are already signs in the Sibelius of occasional excessive weight on the lower strings...perhaps an attempt to draw out a sound which wasn't within the violin's capability. Later recordings on this DVD demonstrate this "over" playing even more. But his bow is fantastic, his sound full and gorgeous, and there is abundance of soul and really heartfelt playing.
This DVD is a great antidote to the hermetically sealed robotic playing of many contemporary violinists."
A Great Look At A Forgotten Violinist
teva_man | United States | 02/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"French violinist Christian Ferras' life was short, but his playing still resonates through his recordings - and a few video compilations like this, of performances from the 1960s and 70s. He was one of the great ones, that's for sure. The Sibelius, with a very young Zubin Mehta at the podium directing a French orchestra, was a welcome change. Some of the playing is rushed, particularly in the beginning of the first movement through the first cadenza - but Ferras' technical brilliance radiates. The third movement is very tight, and occasionally a little pinched-sounding but on the whole, a fine and very individual live performance. The Stravinsky isn't quite as good - this piece has tons of meter changes and thus, the synchronization with the orchestra is difficult. There are more than a few flaws throughout (particularly in the final stretch of Mvt. 4) But the most impressive item of the disc is the Franck Sonata, with Pierre Barbizet at the piano (and Barbizet had the notoriously difficult piano part memorized!) I can't say enough good things about it. Also included is the first movement of the Bach E major Partita, Stravinsky's "Chanson Russe", and closing out the program is a chamber music gathering with the audience very near the violin and piano - Ferras, dressed semi-formally, plays the Dinicu Hora Staccato and Faure Berceuse, and wonderfully well. The odd but very welcome inclusion of Zino Francescatti playing the Mozart Concerto #4 with Jerzy Semkow is a nice bonus item - Francescatti played everything well, it seems.